søndag 10. februar 2013

Valdor Tank Hunter

Well I collect, I build, I convert, I paint and I play... but I don't take pictures! And without pictures, there isn't much point in posting to the blog! However, I'm kicked myself in the rear end and pushed myself to start working on that part, and even if the pictures aren't good I'll just have to work with that, learning a little - little by little.



Anyway, back to my Catachan Jungle Fighters. I have a quite a few models to catch up with in terms of presenting them, and I'll spread that out a bit so I can get some regular activity on this page in the weeks and months to come (while learning to take pictures). First up is the first super-heavy I finished for my army, the Valdor Tank Hunter.



I should have applied some dark shadow before adding the tracks and weapon cover, as it turned out I never really got  good enough access to these area to shade them in. Furthermore, I killed a lot of the model's contrast by applying too much flat varnish. Disappointing, but good lessons learned. I'm still reasonably happy with the end result.



Since it was such a rare, technologically unique vehicle, I wanted a Tank Commander that really stood out. So in addition to kit bashing a bionically enhanced tank commander I also added a Servo Skull.


mandag 20. februar 2012

Nork Deddog

The infamous Nork Deddog


I'm slowly working on the Ogryn Auxilia Battle Formation in the background of other projects, using no less than 31 Ogryns to form three solid squads of abhuman brutality. They'll be led by a Commissar Lord based on the Yarrick model, with a tough-as-grox command squad. I'll cover that project at another time, but as a 'teaser' I'll present the one model out of the 31-count - the famous Nork Deddogg!







The project is based on collecting old Ogryns off e-bay for quite some time (it takes a while to get 30-odd Ogryns at a decent price, not to mention stripping and kit-bashing, converting and detailing them). However, I am very excited about this project because despite their questionable role in a game of 40k, they are unmistakably 'Catachan' in their appearance! No self-respecting Jungle Fighter force should deploy to combat without the back-up of these brutes!

Company Command Squad


The first unit I want to finalize is one of my Company Command Squads. My favorite configuration has been three plasma guns, medi-kit, and a plasma pistol for the officer. The ability to put out seven Str 6 AP 2 shots within 12" is lethal, and is usually my answer to Terminators that get too close. I have also tried running the command squad with four plasma guns, but the medi-kit not only tends to keep my overheating guardsmen alive, but has given me that added resilience that has often been useful when they get in a pinch. In addition, I tend to find that where 7 plasma shots can't do the job, 9 isn't that much more useful.

To back up that opinion I did some math and (assuming that I got it right), after five turns a command squad with 3 plasma gunners and a medic will have killed 11.6 Terminators at the loss of guardsman, while the squad with 4 plasma gunners killed 12.3 Terminators at the loss of 3 guardsmen. So my deduction, supported by experience, is that while the lethality is more or less the same, the first squad is more resilient, flexible, and - thus - dependable throughout the game, while the second squad can frontload more damage early in the game.

I would like to add that, from experience, I've found that the 4 plasma gun squad is far more prone to self-detonate from a fistful of 1's and screw up my whole battle plan than it is to get a solid 'alpha strike' and clear a unit off before sustaining the inevitable "Gets Hot!" casualties. So now I never field plasma command squads without either a medic or carapace armor (but I'll leave that math more another time).

Beyond the number of plasma shots in my squad, I've learned two other points from running this unit. First of all, every member of the squad is valuable so bodyguards are great to keep plasma gunners alive when guardsmen start to drop. Secondly, when their ride gets blown my command squad often finds themselves in a crater rather too close to the enemy for comfort - but curiously enough my opponents always tends to ask about powerfists, as power armored players are often loath to loose one or two marines from a "wipe-up crew" sent to clear them out. This has led me to equip my officer with a power fist, as the amount of time its presence has made my opponents try to rapid fire me off the table instead of charging makes it well worth its points (consider that I have a 4+/4+ save vs. incoming fire when in cover).

So my company command squad consists of three plasma guns, a medi-kit, two bodyguards and an officer with powerfist and plasma pistol. Too expensive to be considered optimized, really; but this configuration works very well for me and my style of play.




A final note on their ride. Usually I see Chimeras with hull heavy flamers and multi-lasers in the turret, but since I need these guys within 12" to be efficient I'm much more happy with keeping a heavy bolter on the hull, and mounting the heavy flamer in the turret. This typically gives me more flexibility to position the Chimera itself in such a way that it might block advances and provide cover - and still get an effective template shot.

Moving on to the hobby aspect, this squad is already built so there isn't a lot of creativity involved. However, at the time I built these I used the old Straken model, which I converted lightly to represent the officer. Sticking with the old look I used metal plasma gunners, adding some bits to give them a touch of individuality. The medic is one from the current plastic command squad set. I've used bases from Scibor to represent them fighting over jungle ruins, painted tan, which I am very happy with.

I used to run las pistol and CCW on the veterans of my old, 4th edition command squads and because of that, I now have a bunch of guys who aren't equipped to be anything but bodyguards. However, I had spent some time kit bashing my command squads even then, so I find the character of those veterans make perfect bodyguards in the current edition (and on a personal note, I like the idea of the survivors of my old command squad now serving as bodyguards). So, apart from repairing some paint chipping and the occasional loose part, all I needed to do was swap their base and tie them into the rest of the command squad.

This is an old picture, but the Command Squad's Chimera is the one on the left (with the searchlight)


The Chimera was already finished as well, so it didn't take look to finalize this unit - the first step in re-organizing and finishing the W.I.P. projects of my collection! However, it was enough time to imagine a little background of the unit, made easier by the fact that the 72nd 'Blackbacks' are currently involved in a campaign upon the Imperial Planet of Ankhodia Prime.


fredag 23. desember 2011

Alternative Harker Model

I came across this model today, over at Brother Vinni's, listed as a 28mm Chaingunner:


I've placed an order for one - it looked too good to pass up - so I'll share a review once it arrives. I don't see a lot of good alternative models for Catachan armies, so even though I have no immediate use for this guy I really wanted to grab him and paint him up!

As I've just gone on and on about completing units as a whole, I guess that means I'll have to start working on a Catachan Devil's detachment at some point -"oh darn!" Equally exciting, Brother Vinni advertises a willingness to take on commissions for individual sculpts, and having seen this model I'm interested to see whether he might be willing to start work on some "Catachan variants" of other special characters from our codex. I'd really like an imposing Creed 'counts as' to form the overall regimental commander of the 72nd.

Anyway, I'll update as I find out more. In the meanwhile...

Merry Christmas! to all readers, their friends and their families!


torsdag 22. desember 2011

Objectives

I already stated in the introduction that I aim to complete all the projects I have in progress as part of my Catachan collection, but my goal will encompass more than just painting. For years I've been drawn to the 'wholeness' of the hobby, without really getting there myself. Defined, objective goals such as finishing all models for a particular list for an upcoming tournament seem - in their simplicity - so easy to stick to that the more subtle, subjective desires such as developing the fluff of the army, getting proper pictures taken and cataloged, developing the narrative through campaign play, painting non-competitive units, or even exploring tactics in different game settings (i.e. various expansions) always gets put off.

This is something I want to address while developing my army in the year to come, looking for a more pleasing balance between developing lists for competitive play (such as the ETC 2012), trying different game formats (Combat Patrol, Planetstrike, Cities of Death, etc.), and developing the story of my regiment, the 72nd Blackbacks (named after the Blackback Vyper, a snake native to the deathworld of Catachan).

Photobucket
Catachan infantry spring an ambush on Alpha Legion renegades

This will not be an entirely new approach, of course; but rather a consolidation of thoughts and philosophies concerning how I enjoy my hobby. I've already come to appreciate that my favorite way of handling the expansion of my army is through painting complete units, set with whatever options I desire for them. An example of this is how I painted up a couple of Veteran Squads that I used as highly lethal counters to Deathstars and similar expensive, pain-in-the-ass units.

I had an idea that equipping a unit of veterans with shotguns, three flamers, upgrading them with Demolitioners and giving the sergeant a powerfist - and deploying them in a Vendetta - would mean a solid headbutt to pretty much any one thing that seemed pivotal to my opponent's battle plans (at the cost of the veteran squad itself, usually). On paper it seemed interesting, but the points-sink was not to be laughed at. However, I got caught up with the idea of some hardcore Catachan drop troops and so I turned the gaming idea into a passionate hobby project.

Photobucket
Catachan Drop Troopers of the 10th Platoon (A squad)

I played 6 games with them before realizing that if anything, one was enough; and although the flamers were great in micro-balance theory, I just ended up needing melta or plasma far more often than I found use for the flamers. Regardless, I was still very happy with the joy of designing and creating the unit, and had fun testing them. Even though they don't see the tabletop very often at the moment, they are certainly a nice addition in any Apocalypse game!

My point is, as I work though my collection I not only want everything painted - I want to eliminate all those individual models with this or that wargear 'floating around' in that collection. I want everything tied down to a unit, preferably one with some measure of identity that continues to add character to my army. For instance, astute readers may have noticed I have three Catachan guardsmen with Grenade Launchers 'hanging around'. I'd like to - at least - assign or paint an additional three guardsmen with lasguns to accompany them to that they can be a Special Weapon Squad.

Of course, if I can find good uses to make competitive units out of odd models - that's great! However, I don't mind investing some time (and money) in filling out units even if they'll be shelf-riders and occasional points-fillers for Apocalypse games and the like.

The advantage of this should be clear to any hobbyist - the ability to wrap up a unit complete with any particular theme in their build and their paint scheme, such as unit markings or characterful wargear. If I find out that a unit really just needs a little tweak to optimize it for my next tournament... well, then I'm happy to just paint a whole new unit. After all, the joy of creativity is as important as the joy of gaming in this hobby.

So, my approach to the chaotic list of models in my collection will be an attempt to distribute them into units, squadrons, and even formations (for Spearhead and/or Apocalypse) in order to tackle sub-projects in batches that are represented in gaming as well as narrative terms. Not only should that help me organize the work on my army, but I hope it will allow me to explore the narrative of each, as well as assist me in getting units sorted for photography, etc.

On that note, I'll present a recent addition to my army - a Primaris Psyker. We're preparing to play some Combat Patrol here in Stavanger, Norway, and I had read on Rasmus's blog that he had really enjoyed fielding this guy in 400-500pts games. I love the model, and it isn't that long since I painted a Psyker Battle Squad, so I decided to paint him up in the same (although somewhat more elaborate) uniform as his lesser gifted brethren.

Primaris Psyker 1a


Primaris Psyker 1b


If any readers get any ideas for particular effective or simply characterful units while browsing the inventory of my models - and remember, I am happy to add models not in the inventory in order to 'tie in' all models to units - please give me your suggestion! I think the next few articles will be about this subject, and how I see units being formed and finalized from the pool of models I have in my cases and on the workbench.

I look forward to sharing!

By the Golden Throne of Terra!

Inventory

Before I have at it and start applying paint to plastic in a furious attempt to push forward and get my models finished, I believe it is a wise course to come up with some sort of a plan. On one hand, focusing on what is needed for any particular list seems like a smart approach, but amazingly enough most of what I need for the evolution of my lists constitute new models (especially Hydras it seems).

An unlikely encounter
Vendetta pilots stalking daemon engines on Addamex VII


So I'll have to come up with another approach on how to prioritize units, but while I ponder that question I've made a list of all the models I've got underway (divided into complete, in need of repairs, and incomplete):

Vehicles
  • Marauder Destroyer (incomplete)
  • 2 Vendettas (one needs repairs)
  • Valkyrie (incomplete)
  • 2 Bombards (incomplete)
  • 2 Medusa (one needs repairs)
  • 2 Storm Lords (incomplete)
  • Stormsword (incomplete)
  • 2 Manticores
  • 2 Hydras (one needs repairs)
  • 2 Hellhounds
  • Leman Russ Exterminator
  • 2x Leman Russ Executioner (incomplete)
  • Leman Russ Annihilator (incomplete)
  • Deathstrike Missile Launcher (incomplete)
  • 4 Chimeras
  • 3 Sentinels (incomplete)
  • Trojan (incomplete)
  • 2 Tauros Venators w/Lascannons (incomplete)
  • Cyclops Demolition Vehicle (incomplete)

Photobucket
Hellhounds

Units
  • 3x Ogryns w/Bone Ead (incomplete)
  • Psyker Battle Squad (Overseer incomplete)
  • Veteran Squad w/Powerfirst, Shotguns, 3 Flamers and Demolitioners
  • Veteran Squad w/Powerfirst, Shotguns, 3 Flamers and Demolitioners (bases incomplete)
  • Veteran Squad w/Plasma pistole, 3 Plasmaguns, and Grenadiers (incomplete)
  • Veteran Squad w/Power fist, 3 GL, and Forward Sentries (incomplete)
  • 3x Infantry Squad w/Power weapon, vox and meltagun
  • Infantry Squad w/vox and meltagun
  • 4x Infantry Squad w/vox and meltagun (incomplete)
  • Company Command Squad w/Powerfist, plasma pistol, 3 plasmaguns, medic (needs repairs)
  • Company Command Squad w/Power weapon, plasma pistol, 4 plasmaguns, carapace armor (incomplete)
  • Ratling Snipers (incomplete)
  • Platoon Command Squad w/Bolter, 4 Flamers
  • Platoon Command Squad w/4 Flamers
  • 2 x Heavy Weapons Squad w/Missile Launcher (incomplete)
  • Heavy Weapons Squad w/Mortars
  • Heavy Weapons Squad w/Autocannons
  • Heavy Weapons Squad w/Heavy Bolters
  • Heavy Weapons Squad w/Lascannons (incomplete)

Photobucket
Manticores


Individual Models
  • Commissar Lord w/bolter and power weapon)
  • Commissar (needs repairs)
  • Commissar w/Power weapon (incomplete)
  • Commissar (incomplete)
  • 3 Bodyguards
  • 2 Bodyguards (incomplete)
  • Medic (incomplete)
  • 2 Sergeants
  • 2 Sergeants w/Bolt Pistols
  • Sergeant w/Power weapon, bolt pistol
  • Sergeant (incomplete)
  • Officer w/Plasma pistol, power sword
  • Officer w/Plasma pistol, power sword (incomplete)
  • Officer w/Plasma pistol, power fist (incomplete)
  • Officer w/Bolt pistol, power fist (incomplete)
  • Marbo (incomplete)
  • Strom Trooper Sergeant (incomplete)
  • Sergeant w/Power weapon, melta bombs (incomplete)
  • 3 Guardsmen (need repairs)
  • Primaris Psyker
  • Anstropath
  • Priest
  • Master of Ordenance (incomplete)
  • Cyclopse Remote Operator (incomplete)
  • Guardsman w/Heavy Flamer
  • 5 Guardsmen w/Heavy Flamer (incomplete)
  • 3 Guardsmen w/Grenade Launchers
  • 2 Guardsmen w/Demo Charges
  • 2 Guardsmen w/Sniper rifles
  • 2 Guardsmen w/Meltaguns (incomplete)
  • 4 Guardsmen w/Flamers
  • 2 Guardsmen w/Flamers (incomplete)
  • 3 Indentured Rangers (incomplete)

Introduction

I have been collecting, painting and playing Imperial Guard since 2001, and after some dead ends I finally managed to complete an army of Catachan Jungle Fighters for the Grand Tournament in Finland back in 2003. Since then I have held on to that paint scheme for my jungle fighters, and my collection has continued to grow. The army has shown itself at Strategikon tournaments in Norway (where it won Best Army at Strategikon IV), Grand Tournaments and Throne of Skulls in the UK, and at the ETC 2011 in Switzerland.

Hanging back
Medusa hull down at the Invasion of Addamex VII

However, for all the models I have fielded over these past 9 years, the overall state of the collection remains somewhat of a mess, and I have promised myself that in 2012 I want to clean the entire thing up. I have long wanted to start a blog, inspired by Rasmus Olesen's own Jungle Fighters, and this seems like a good theme to base this blog on - re-organizing, cleaning up and finalizing my current collection of Catachan Jungle Fighters, and - naturally - adding new models as time goes by!

Photobucket
The state of my collection, December 2011

Currently, I have about 8500pts of "Catachan projects" that I have begun, but more than half of those points are tied up in units that are in need of repair, or have not yet been finished (as seen above). Furthermore, I probably have another 5000pts worth of projects that I have not yet started.

However, I want this army - and by extension, this blog - to be about more than modeling and painting Catachan. I want to challenge myself to expand on the army in terms of narrative background, campaigns, and character - as well as put more effort into getting the models photographed, design thematic army lists, etc. In other words, to put a lot more effort into the army as a whole - not just a collection of models I want to paint for games of 40k.

I hope this blog will help me focus and settle into a rhythm of creation that - if nothing else - will at least see me through finalizing all these projects I have begun, while at the same time offering to share thoughts and experiences with various formats, expansions, and the different tournaments I usually attend. And if I am really lucky, it will inspire some feedback and social interactions with other fans of the hobby! All comments of a friendly nature are welcome!

For the Emperor!